Starlight is a social business in Afghanistan that began in 2008. Capitalizing on the country’s 300 or so days a year of bright sunshine, the enterprise produces solar-powered stoves which provide a cost-efficient, locally-produced and healthy method of cooking. Additionally, Starlight provides training and employment opportunities for vulnerable women in Afghanistan, including women from Hagar.
Hagar staff Patricia recently sat down with Starlight staff to learn more about this social business.
Patricia: How did Starlight start?
Starlight: We had been looking out for social enterprise and business ideas since we first came to Hagar Afghanistan in 2008. We had thought of teaming up with an Afghan friend to start producing parabolic solar stoves as we could see the benefits of the green technology and reduction in fuel costs but also thought it could be a possible partner in first employment for some of our Hagar clients.
Patricia: What is the vision of the business?
Starlight: Our goals are to provide Afghans with a locally-produced, cost-reducing, environmentally friendly, healthy method of cooking that is appropriate to local cooking methods, and to create jobs for women-led households. Women-led households need economic independence but in Afghanistan women often require extra training, protection, support and assistance to achieve this goal.
Patricia: How will this help vulnerable women in Hagar’s care?
Starlight: We hope to have women from Hagar learning the required soft skills to maintain employment. This would involve the women applying reflective tape to parabolic panels, preparing and packaging additional components, including assembly and operations manuals and doing the final quality check of the product when boxing.